Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I'm currently "home alone", aka Cinders, so instead of being able to shove off, footloose and fancy-free, into the workshop I'm hanging about waiting for deliveries, 'phone calls etc. What a 'mare. Spent most of the afternoon shivering with the window open because I knew a delivery was expected and I can't hear a damn thing out here if the doorbell goes. Just my luck that he should be later than usual...

Mind you, it's not all bad. The little time I get in the w'shop is all my own without awkward "how's the chair coming?" questions when I get in again. I confess, I'm having a chair vacation for a week. There, I've said it. It makes sense though; I was getting jaded and thinking about cutting sanding corners instead of doing it properly. Much better to do something else and come back to it afresh, is my thinking. So I decided to indulge my tool-making itch. The plan was to do some handle turning, maybe tackle the long term project of getting good oval screwdriver handles. But it was perishing cold here today so the unheated garage wherein the lathe resides wasn't a welcome prospect. How about that long-postponed stair saw then?

I've already got a design in mind, some walnut of just the right thickness, even the white pencil handy to make clear marks. And somewhere, ready prepared over a year ago, is the blade. I need the blade 'cos I can't remember what length I made it. I hunted through all the likely places and all the unlikely ones too.

I couldn't find it.

Okay, yes, I have one or two other hunks of saw blade from which to make another, but I just know as soon as I do that it'll turn up. Damned if I'll make a replacement. So I find myself at an "imp arse". But by a happy coincidence I found instead a box of brass, countersunk, cross head machine screws. Huzzah, I can finish the chair devil properly at last. So I did. And then thought about maybe making one with a straight blade, now I had the machine screws... A while ago I found myself smitten with Brian Buckner's "Gunstock Scraper" and fancied making one of my own. Well why not now? In a bid to convince myself it wasn't a skive I took lots of WIP shots and told myself maybe I'd write an article and try Good Woodworking with it. I probably won't, but that's what I told myself...

Anyway, it's not too bad, although maybe I'll cut down that blade a bit... I used some of a 3/4" square stick I got from a mixed pallet from South London Hardwoods ages ago - dunno what it is mind you, but tough as old boots, creates a very yellow dust, scrapes and finishes bootifully. The chair devil is bubinga. I have no idea why I got so many pieces of 3/4" square stuff on that pallet, but they include a lot of greenheart and some purpleheart too; the latter all gone now, alas, apart from small bits suitable for testing scrapers on. Hard to find anything to use them for, but this scraper is the ideal project for it. The blade clamp piece is a bit of maple, and really it's at the very limit of its capabilities this thin. Trust me to find the ideal chunk of brass only after I'd finished... Odd thing is I can't for the life of me recall what I bought, and used part of, that brass for. Hell, I had hoped for a few more years before this started to happen... So really I need to make another one with a brass clamp/toe. Or maybe I could bare the bone aroma again...


  1. Mike Wenzloff (MikeW)4/12/2006 08:59:00 am

    Very nice Alf! Lovely even. What a great combo of wood.


  2. What a beautiful pair of tools. I look forward to reading the article.

  3. Aww shucks, going from youse guys, especially you, Mike, well that's really appreciated.

  4. Alf,

    Perhaps you could set yourself up as the MikeW of the scraper world. :-)

  5. Mike Wenzloff (MikeW)4/13/2006 02:02:00 am

    Well, really, those are lovely. I did show you a picture of my unispired LV shave kit, didn't I? Once upon a time?

    Yours makes me want to let in some contrasting wood, strip the plain wax off and polish it proper.

    That's why you really ought to put something together for the magazine. You inspire confidence and desire, Alf.

    Take care, Mike

  6. Alf

    That's just super! Nicely executed. I also have always had a soft spot for contrasting woods, as you have used.

    Warm regards from Perth



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